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Recipe courtesy of Maneet Chauhan

Chapatis with Ghee

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr (includes resting time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 chapatis
It sometimes seems like chapatis make the world go round in India. We love bread and words such as naan, papadam, paratha, and chapati make our mouths water long before these aromatic flatbreads hit the table. Chapati is a flatbread made with whole wheat flour that gives it a slightly chewy-nubby texture and a warm brown color. The best way to eat chapati is either slathered in ghee (see What Is Ghee, below) if they're consumed alone or as a utensil to dip into dishes like Dal Makhani. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they also frequently accompany chaat since they can stand in for a utensil, making chapatis the ultimate sustainable spoon or fork. Indians use a flat griddle called a tava, which is similar to the comal of Mexico and Central America. Tavas are made of iron, stainless steel, or aluminum. They are relatively inexpensive and available at most kitchen supply stores. If you don't have a tava, a cast-iron pan or stainless-steel pan can be substituted. Be sure to serve chapatis hot off the griddle. No Indian worth their ghee would ever eat a lukewarm chapati.




  1. On a clean work surface, make a mound with 2 cups of the flour. Sprinkle the salt on top and then create a well in the center. Pour the oil and water into the well and begin to bring everything together using your hands. The liquid should be completely incorporated into the dry ingredients until a loose dough has formed. Knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball that bounces back just slightly when you poke your finger into it. This should take about 5 minutes. Place the dough into a bowl slicked with oil and rub a small amount of oil on top of the dough. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Let it sit at room temperature until it has puffed up slightly and its surface feels slightly dry when you touch it, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place the remaining 1 cup flour in a bowl. Divide the dough into 10 to 12 equal portions and roll each portion between your palms into a ball. Dredge each one through the flour, gently shaking it to remove any excess. Working with one at a time (and keeping the other balls covered with a damp towel), set a ball on a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 6-inch round that is 1/8–inch–thick. Transfer to a lightly floured sheet pan and cover with a damp towel while rolling out the rest of the chapatis.
  3. Place a cast-iron or nonstick griddle over medium-high heat until it's hot, 4 to 5 minutes. Test it by flicking a few drops of water onto it. If it sizzles, it's good to go.
  4. If you have a gas stovetop: Place the first chapati on the hot griddle and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the griddle from the flame and using tongs, flip your chapati over and place the second side directly over the flame. This should cause it to puff up for a moment, which is what gives a chapati its light texture once it settles again. After it settles, continue to cook it over the flame for another 30 seconds before transferring it to a plate (if the chapati begins to burn or take on too much color, reduce the heat).
  5. If you have an electric stovetop: Keep your chapati on the griddle for 2 minutes. Wad up a paper towel and press gently and very carefully around the entire circumference of the chapati after it has cooked for 2 minutes. Once the edges of the chapati just begin to dry out, it's ready to be flipped over. Use tongs to flip it over and use the paper towel to press the second side again in the same way as you did the first. Cook the second side for about 2 minutes--the step with the paper towel should cause the chapati to puff up on the griddle without the need for an open flame.
  6. To serve, spoon about 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee over the chapati. I know this seems like an excessive amount of ghee (and it is!), but this is my mom's recipe and she always serves chapatis this way. If you're health conscious, you don't need to go full throttle on ghee like we do in the Chauhan household, but I promise you, sometimes it's just what's needed to jump-start your day.


Yield: Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until a layer of milk solids and water separate out from the butterfat and rise, creating a white cap on the surface, 8 to 11 minutes. Increase the heat to high, bring the butter to a boil, and boil until the white cap becomes frothy. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the cap at the surface begins to break apart, 7 to 10 minutes. Continue to gently simmer until the milk solids on the surface sink to the bottom of the pot and the bubbles cease to form, 6 to 8 minutes more. Using a silicone spatula, scrape any residue that forms on the sides of the pan into the ghee, where it will sink to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Continue to cook until the ghee takes on a nutty aroma and turns golden brown. This should take about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to encourage uniform cooking.
  3. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth and set over a heatproof container. Gently and slowly pour the ghee through the cheesecloth into the container. Be very careful during this step to prevent the ghee from splashing and burning your hands. Discard the cheesecloth and set the ghee aside to cool to room temperature in the uncovered container.
  4. Once the ghee cools to room temperature, cover the container and refrigerate until you need to use it. (The ghee will harden in the refrigerator but can be liquefied over medium heat before using.) It will keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Cook’s Note

Indian whole wheat flour is called atta and is available at Indian markets. It's the foundation for several Indian flatbreads, including naan, puri, and roti, and is typically made from durum wheat. Unlike most whole wheat flour in America and Europe, atta is milled using a stone wheel, which results in a very fine powder. The pressure of the stone grinding also heats the atta slightly as it is ground, resulting in a slightly toasty flavor, a trademark of Indian wheat flatbreads. While American whole wheat flour will work in a pinch, for a truly authentic Indian experience, making a trip to an Indian market to pick up a bag of atta is well worth the trek. What Is Ghee and How to Make It: There's a time and place for regular butter, and then there are those recipes that call for the flavor of butter but with a bolder twist. That's where ghee comes in. It's regular butter that has been rendered through heating to remove the milk solids and water, leaving behind nothing but velvety, golden fat that has a deep, earthy note that floods every corner of the mouth with flavor and lingers long after it's gone. In India, it's hard to imagine many of the most iconic dishes without ghee. It's a staple in every Indian pantry, beloved for its ability to add a nutty flavor to a dish and to withstand high temperatures. Because the water and milk solids have been removed, ghee has a higher smoke point than butter--you can heat it to around 400 degrees F without risk of burning. This makes it perfect for Indian recipes that require sauteing or frying at high heat over a long period of time. Ghee is not as useful in baking, since its flavor is earthier and more robust than melted butter, which can easily overtake the delicate nature of breads and pastries. Its heartiness is perfect for warm desserts like Gajar ka Halwa because it stands up to the richness of the semolina pudding and enhances its flavor without overtaking it. Though similar to Western clarified butter, ghee adds an extra flourish to Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes, since it's cooked for a longer period of time, resulting in a nutty flavor and a deep golden color.